O'Malley replaces campaign manager for primary election

May 22, 2006|By DOUG DONOVAN | DOUG DONOVAN,SUN REPORTER

Mayor Martin O'Malley replaced his campaign manager yesterday and elevated his brother and two Maryland political operatives to lead his effort to win the Democratic primary election in September.

O'Malley campaign officials say the decision was mutual between outgoing manager Jonathan A. Epstein and the mayor.

Replacing Epstein will be Josh White, former head of the Maryland Democratic Party, who became deputy campaign manager in March, according to a campaign statement issued last night.

The campaign also said that Lucie L. Snodgrass, a former finance director and policy adviser to Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, and former director of governmental and community relations for Harford County, will join the O'Malley team.

Peter O'Malley, the mayor's brother and two-time campaign manager, will take on "leadership responsibilities" beyond his role as senior political adviser, according to the statement.

"This was the right decision at the right time for this campaign," O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said.

Abbruzzese said the mayor wanted the campaign led by individuals who were steeped in the issues critical to Maryland voters.

"Josh has been around Maryland politics for a long time," he said. "Peter has the most intimate knowledge of how the mayor likes his campaigns to be run."

In March 2005, O'Malley hired Epstein, who helped engineer Democratic Sen. John Kerry's pivotal win in the Iowa presidential caucuses in 2004, Abbruzzese said.

He said Epstein was instrumental in building the O'Malley campaign to a point where it leads its Democratic primary opponent, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, in fundraising and polls.

"The candidate can often change his mind," said Arthur W. Murphy, a partner at Democracy Group, an Annapolis-based political consulting firm. "It's about relationships. It's not a big deal."

Duncan campaign manager Scott Arceneaux said: "Jonathan Epstein is a consummate professional with great experience. We wish him well as he continues his political career."

doug.donovan@baltsun.com

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